49ers trap game No. 3: Week 17 @ Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 1 at 1:05 pm PT
For a long time, it was the NFC West that was considered to be the most competitive division in the NFL, with the 49ers doing a good job of keeping their roster together while the Seattle Seahawks are moving into a rebuild and the Los Angeles Rams are slowly losing key players such as EDGE Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham.
But now it’s the AFC West who are in a super competitive race to the top of the divisional mountain.
The Los Angeles Chargers have a very promising roster led by young quarterback Justin Herbert, the Kansas City Chiefs are perennial Super Bowl contenders behind Patrick Mahomes, the Denver Broncos finally have an elite quarterback at the helm with Russell Wilson while the Raiders have bolstered their roster following a playoffs appearance last season.
Indeed, it’s for this reason the Niners and the rest of the NFC West have such a tough strength of schedule to begin with.
The Raiders are seen as the basement team of the four in the AFC West, but even if that was true, their roster would be good enough to compete for many other divisions in the NFL. Derek Carr is not an elite quarterback, but he’s good enough to take advantage of a roster that has Josh Jacobs and rookie Zamir White in the backfield and a receiving corps starring Davante Adams and Darren Waller.
The 49ers cannot afford to overlook the Raiders even if they’re considered the weak link of the division. There’s still plenty of talent for the team to be wary of.